I am just learning to drive my 1920 roadster. I took it out around the neighborhood a couple of times in low gear and it overheated. There was one hill. Is driving it in low gear the problem. Thinking back, I may have had the spark retarded too much. Could this also cause overheating. The previous owner said it had a new radiator and ran cool. Thanks for any advice.
Yes to all you posted. Plus maybe the carb was too lean. Driving all the way in low will heat up the motor.
Some info from 'back in the day':
Was it overheating - in other words, was there indication of temperature above 212 degrees?
If the radiator simply spit out coolant due to over filling, it is not overheating. Water expands when it is warm, and in an unpressurized system the system will spit out coolant until the appropriate level is reached.
The appropriate coolant level is about a half inch below the word "FORD" stamped on the radiator shell in a brass T. In a black T the coolant level needs to be about 4" below the bottom of the radiator cap.
Dan. Thanks. I think that is the problem since it is not supposed to overheat. I am new at driving a T and just need more experience. I will try it with the spark advanced and since I am a little more confident in high gear.
Thanks Royce. Mine is a 1920 roadster. Water is the coolant and it seems to be at the right level. I will check it again. It did not spit out coolant.
When you go out in it again and have advanced the spark, try adjusting the carburetor mixture a little to find the "sweet" spot. To do this just turn it one way until it falters a little, then the other way until it falters, then set it half way between those two places. Too lean will cause it to overheat. Too rich will cause other problems.
Some guys fiddle with that mixture adjustment all the time. Others, like me, leave it alone once it's set. I haven't touched mine in years and it starts and runs great.
David, as Henry says, try adjusting your carb mixture. I proved this to myself one day while on a tour by the Highland Park Plant, and was fiddling with the adjustment. When I got to the plant, the Motometer was all the way up. (Be sure to get one if you don't have one already.) So I opened the adjustment a half turn or so and the red started dropping almost immediately.
Thanks Henry and Thomas. I will try adjusting the mixture next time I go out. I have a Motometer and it is very helpful.
from your second post, it would seem that you were driving around in low gear. Low gear for much more than a walking pace, for any length of time will tend to heat up the car if everything else that folks have mentioned wasn't perfectly set.
I'll bet that by now, driving in High and having everything set right, you're doing fine. Use low to get the car rolling, not even completely through an intersection, and high gear for everything else short of pulling a long or steep hill.
Thanks Scott. I have not had the time to get out and drive in high gear yet. That is what I plan to do next. Driving in high gear, adjusting the carb and spark should do trick.
I have three brass T's that I tour regularly. One has a new radiator and stock engine except for a 3/4 race cam. One is stock (original radiator) except for a full race cam, high compression pistons and a high volume aluminum intake. The third has a Haibe Hi-Power head and 3/4 race cam with original radiator. All run stock Ford timers (originals) and Ford coils. Each car has the original carburetors for the year of the car. I have swapped out to NH's at times to see it they run differently. I also have a Simmons (very similar to an NH) that I swap out now and then.
I couple of weeks ago, I took the one with the Haibe up to McPherson College for their annual car show. I was not happy with the performance of the car. It was overheating (a problem I have had with it since I rebuilt it and installed the Haibe head several years back). A group of us Flatland T'er's were discussing the situation at the show and one of the guys said he had a Russ Potter carb he would let me borrow to try out. The thought was that something in the fuel system might be causing the overheating. We were thinking it was running lean. It has an accessory Anderson combination intake/exhaust manifold too. I tried out the rebuilt Potter NH carb first and it improved the car tremendously over the original 1915 Kingston, an NH I had rebuilt, and the Simmons. One thing I did notice with the Simmons carb was that I had to advance the spark to get it started. When I was on the road, I could only advance it about 1/2 the spark rod travel before it would really overheat/run rough. With the Potter carb, I had a more normal travel to the spark lever.
My next trick is to try an aluminum intake on the one with the Haibe. We think the Anderson combo manifold is an "economy" type of manifold and that it might be contributing to the lean running issue. The camshafts all came from the same fellow out in California. I forget his name. We bought the cams from him in Texas at the Pate Swap Meet about 1977 or so. He would bring 3 T Speedsters to the swap meet and sell them along with T speedster gas tanks, distributor set-ups, etc. at the meet. He said the cams were some he ground using a modified Model C Ford grind on the T cam. I like the full race the best. I kinda wish I had bought all three of them with the full race grind. But then again, they might not have worked that good in all the T's. That is the beauty of having a Model T Ford...you can have three Model T's and have three different cars!
P.S. - I think the fellow from CA with the cams had several alphabet Fords which might have sold at an auction several years back. Would his name have been Becker?